Gillingham 3-2 Stevenage
John Mousinho's late header helped the Gills to victory in an topsy-turvy encounter with Stevenage.
Peter Taylor made three changes to his line-up with West Brom loanee Donervon Daniels starting at centre-half in place of Legge, and Craig Fagan and Myles Weston joining Kedwell in attack at the expense of Whelpdale and McDonald.
Gillingham lined-up with a 4-5-1 formation, Michael Harriman reverting to the right-back role, allowing Elliott Hewitt to move into the defensive midfield berth, while Hollands and Mousinho took up more advanced midfield roles.
The home side started brightly and tested visiting keeper Chris Day after just two minutes, Craig Fagan’s free-kick from the right flank carrying to Danny Kedwell at the far post, who rifled a shot at goal, which Day got down well to gather low to his post.
Six minutes later the Gills should have been in front, as debutant Donervon Daniels beat the keeper to Myles Weston’s deep cross from the right, he headed down for Adam Barrett, but the skipper managed to clear the cross bar with the goal at his mercy.
Gills continued to look the likelier to score with Hollands unlucky not to get something on Harriman’s ball over the defence, and Hewitt testing the keeper with a deflected effort from distance after the youngster had made a good run into the Stevenage half.
Then, out of the blue and with their first chance of the match, Boro took a surprise 36th minute lead, a clearance out of the box fell to Simon Heslop and the midfielder lashed an unstoppable effort into Stuart Nelson’s bottom left corner.
The hosts responded from the restart and tested Day once more from a Danny Hollands throw-on, Adam Barrett got a head to the ball and knocked down for Craig Fagan who made space to shoot, only for his low strike to be stopped on the line by the Boro custodian.
Gills continued to dominate proceedings up until the break with Day thwarting another Fagan effort, while Akins diverted a Kedwell drilled shot from a tight angle behind for a corner, as the visitors held on to their advantage at the break.
Gillingham found their way back into the game seconds after the restart as Stevenage skipper Jon Ashton pulled down John Mousinho in the box. Danny Kedwell stepped up to the spot and smashed a ball into the top right corner to level the scores.
Just three minutes later the home side took the lead with a debut goal for Donervon Daniels after Danny Hollands free-kick was cleared, and helped back to the centre-half, who beat the advancing Stevenage keeper to
turn the game on its head.
On 57 minutes Kedwell chipped into the box for Myles Weston to head into the keeper’s hands as the home side looked to press home their momentum but it was the visitors that scored two minutes later, Francois Zoko forcing home Filipe Morais header from a Freeman corner.
There was consternation for the home fans on 72 minutes as Joe Martin slipped on the wet turf allowing former Gill Luke Freeman a free run on goal, fortunately Nelson was able to deny his angled finish.
Then four minutes later Gillingham took the lead for the second time in the half, after Myles Weston had been brought down deep on the right touchline. Danny Hollands took the free-kick and picked out John Mousinho
who planted a precision header into the keeper’s far corner for 3-2.
Straight from the restart Peter Taylor sent on Cody McDonald for Craig Fagan to relieve his defence and increase the Gills attacking threat. It almost paid dividends as a long ball found Kedwell on the edge of the area, he shrugged off Luke Jones to fire goalwards but rolled his finish agonisingly wide of Day’s right hand upright.
The Gills then survived a nervy four minutes of time added on to record a very welcome home win.
Attendance: 4591 (Stevenage 125)
Gillingham: Stuart Nelson, Joe Martin, Danny Kedwell, Myles Weston, Danny Hollands, Michael Harriman, Adam Barrett, Craig Fagan (Cody McDonald 77), Donervon Daniels, Elliott Hewitt, John Mousinho
Subs not used: Callum Davies, Chris Whelpdale, Bayo Akinfenwa, Bradley Dack, George Howard, Jake Hessenthaler
Stevenage: Chris Day, Jon Ashton, Luke Jones, Filipe Morais (Jordan Burrow 81), Lucas Akins, Francois Zoko, Simon Heslop, Luke Freeman, David Gray (Bruno Andrade 80), Michael Doughty, Peter Hartley (Roarie Deacon
Subs not used: Steve Arnold, Sam Wedgbury, Greg Tansey, Oumare Tounkare.
Referee: Brendan Malone
Assistants: Alan Dale & John Magill
4th Official: Lee Venamore